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Archive for the ‘Leadership’ Category

Unspoken Feedback

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

Leadership TrainingEver wonder what your employees are thinking about you?

If so, you’re probably a better-than-average leader who takes the time to observe body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice, so you can tell when someone’s frustrated, confused, or just plain upset about something that’s happened.

But even in the best of manager/employee relationships, you’re probably not going to get the type of  in-depth honest feedback that might help you make real changes. Even in organizations where 360-degree reviews are consistently used, feedback isn’t always timely – or completely honest.

So what’s a manager to do when s/he wants to improve?

It goes back to observation, and to caring about what your team thinks and feels.

It’s not hard to learn how people act when they’re upset, hurt, frustrated, or angry.

It’s not hard to notice when something you’ve done has triggered their reaction.

It can be hard to be honest enough with yourself to acknowledge the connection between your actions and their reactions, and to be vulnerable enough to explore how you might do things differently in the future. (more…)

6 Tell-Tale Symptoms of the Abilene Paradox

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

Team Effectiveness TrainingIn our previous article we wrote about a humorous family “trip to Abilene” and the concept of the Abilene Paradox.  We also discussed
how the Paradox affects us in both our personal and work lives.   Today, we’ll explore six tell-tale symptoms of the Paradox.

Remember that professor Jerry Harvey described the Abilene Paradox as the inability to manage agreement rather than the inability to manage conflict.  This inability to manage agreement is the essential symptom that defines individuals and organizations caught in the web of the Abilene Paradox.

Consider this workplace scenario:

Sue, Tony, Jasmine and their manager, Chris, all have strong reservations about implementing a proposed procedural change.  Individually, each one is convinced the change will cause more problems than it will solve.  BUT, because the proposed change was suggested by a highly-paid consultant, and because no one else is voicing their concerns, each individual claims to support the plan (when they really don’t). The procedural change goes forward…seemingly with unanimous consent.  Later, when troubling operational issues surface, the  group members get annoyed with  one another and blame the consultant for giving bad advice. Eventually—despite a hefty investment in the flawed new procedure—the organization decides to go back to the old way of doing things.  Susan, Tony, Jasmine and Chris never discuss the matter again. (more…)

Not Just for Bedtime Any More

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

Story Telling for Customer Service TrainingStory-telling is proving to be far more than just the latest training fad. As reported in the July/August  issue of Training Magazine, major companies in industries ranging from high tech and high finance to high touch – and everything in between – are turning to story-telling as a powerfully effective way to inform, engage, and educate at every level of the organization.

Companies such as Sprint, the Ritz-Carlton, Hewlett-Packard, and many others both on and off the Fortune 500 list are embracing story-telling for everything from leadership development to customer service training and employee recognition programs. In fact, it seems like there’s no educational or communication initiative that doesn’t respond well to a little (or a lot of) story-telling.

So how can you bring story-telling into your organization’s training efforts?

  1. Start with a clearly-defined project.

A project like new employee orientation would be good for several reasons. With onboarding, there are typically clear objectives, clear learning points, and you can easily determine how well new hires integrate into the organization.  Onboarding presents opportunities to tell the story of how the company got started, along with stories that reflect the values and culture of the organization. (Other test project options could include the rollout of a new technology, a new leadership-development program, or the announcement of a new policy.) (more…)

5 Tips for Employee Engagement and Retention

Friday, September 12th, 2014

Bob_computerWhen it comes to retaining and motivating your best, most highly-skilled workers, here are five important things to remember:

People want to work in a positive, supportive atmosphere.  Leaders set the tone by communicating well and being available to support problem solving.

People want to grow and be challenged.  Leaders can support employees’ attempts to keep learning and broadening their skills, and can mindfully assign challenging tasks.

People are motivated by different things, not just financial compensation.  Leaders can become more aware of what encourages each individual to achieve his or her best. (more…)

Cross-functional Teams: The Leader’s Role in Building Synergy

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

Cross-functional Teams: The Leader’s Role in Building SynergyOrganizations won’t be successful with a cross-functional team approach if departments within the organization have been overly isolated or are mired in an “us versus them” mindset.

What can a leader do to build synergy in these types of dysfunctional cross-functional team situations?

1. Start by making first-hand observations. Walk around the organization and ask people how things are going; seek their input on the issue at hand. Visible leadership (when employees can SEE leaders walking around and talking to folks) builds morale and lets people know that someone cares about what they’re doing and thinking.
2. Build bridges between roles and job functions. Encourage everyone to look beyond their immediate surroundings and give them opportunities to form productive working relationships with people in other departments. A beyond-the-barriers mindset ensures useful information is shared and not kept in “silos”. (more…)

Are You a Hoarder?

Monday, August 4th, 2014

Leadership TrainingNo, we’re not talking about the TV show, and we don’t suspect you of secretly stockpiling paper clips – or even of having too many cats.

But you – or others in your organization – might be hoarding knowledge.

The phrase “knowledge is power”  is sometimes interpreted  as, “If I keep all the knowledge to myself, I will have power.” This is the hoarder model. It’s based on the flawed assumption that knowledge is in short supply, and that if we “give it away” by sharing what we know, we lose something.

The statement “knowledge shared is knowledge multiplied” is a more helpful approach, recognizing the reality that knowledge isn’t a “thing” that, when we give it away, we no longer have. Instead, shared knowledge increases understanding and insight.

When knowledge flows within an organization, that sends a message of trust and confidence to all employees. This alone tends to motivate and energize everyone involved. (more…)

Harassment in the Workplace

Sunday, July 27th, 2014

Harassment in the WorkplaceHarassment in the workplace is a problem that many people face.  The line between proper behavior and harassment is one that is often crossed.

If and when any harassment is found, proper actions and consequences need to follow in order to enable other employees to feel safe. But in order for that to happen, it must be understood what proper behavior in a working environment is and what it is not.

Sexual harassment is one of the better-known forms of workplace harassment. It is one of what used to be just a handful of types of harassment dealt with by law. But as societal norms have evolved and new forms of interaction (like social media, for example) have been introduced, more behaviors are being recognized as harassment.

The video It’s Not Just About Sex Anymore is a training tool for learning about many forms of harassment and how to deal with them. Topics illustrated in this video include: (more…)

Would I Work for Me?

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

Leadership Training VideosBeing the boss can be challenging. Higher paychecks come with more responsibility, more pressure, and often more time spent worrying about work. This increase in stress can lead to tension in the workplace. Studies have shown that a great or bad boss is the number-one factor that influences people’s performance at work. A great boss helps people thrive, while a bad one induces people to quit or do less-than-satisfactory work.

There are several keys to being a great boss:

  • Share information
  • Get people involved
  • Listen to people’s concerns
  • Take action to show you care
  • Tell people what they’re doing right
  • Focus on solutions, not problems
  • Deal with mistakes in private
  • Use mistakes to help people

These skills improve motivation, productivity, and the bottom line. They take negatives and turn them into positives. (more…)

6 Keys to Leading in Turbulent Times

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

Leadership Success TrainingGlobalization, talent shortages and roller coaster market dynamics are just a few of the complex challenges facing today’s businesses. So how do you lead effectively in this turbulent environment?

“Complex challenges — ranging from expanding into overseas markets to dealing with the fallout of natural disasters — often don’t respond to conventional approaches and knowledge. Instead, they require innovative thought and action,” says John Ryan, President and CEO of the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL).

Six important things you can do to become a more effective leader include:

Collaborate. Collaborative leaders can get tremendous results. Research shows that the ability to collaborate is a skill that top executives believe their men and women should have. In fact, 97 percent of the executives we surveyed identified collaboration as a key to their organization’s success. And yet, just 47 percent of those same executives believe the leaders in their organizations are skilled collaborators. (more…)


 

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